Ex-Envoy To UN Says Terrorism Cannot Be Defeated Without Combating Online Radicalization

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 11th September, 2021) ASHINGTON, September 11 (Sputnik), Barrington M. Salmon - The international community must focus on fighting online radicalization or it will never be able to effectively combat global terrorism, despite some progress made since 9/11, former Jamaican Ambassador to the UN Curtis WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point news / Sputnik - 11th September, 2021) ard told Sputnik.

Saturday marks the 20-year anniversary of September 11 - the day terrorists from al-Qaeda (banned in Russia) hijacked and crashed two planes into the World Trade Center in New York and one into the Pentagon. A fourth jet came down in a field in Pennsylvania after being initially directed toward Washington.

"In 2005, the United Nations adopted a global strategy. They identified places that need to adopt the strategy," Ward, who was a member of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee, said. "The military aspect emphasizes that we always maintain that if you don't focus on the roots - radicalization on the Internet - we will never be able to get our arms around it."

As America observes and reflects on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, Ward said he recalls the outrage he felt when he witnessed the second of two planes crashing into the World Trade Center (WTC) in Manhattan, New York. That is coupled with contemplating the job the United States has done to protect the country since then.

Ward said over the years counterterror efforts have significantly degraded terror groups, which have splintered over the years. However, the internet, Ward said, has been a powerful tool for terrorists to globalize movements such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS, terror group banned in Russia).

"Terrorism has evolved... many of the groups were in existence around 9/11 but were localized. Many changed loyalties to al-Qaeda and operated in The Magreb, Mali and elsewhere," Ward said. "When ISIS [IS] emerged, some groups switched their allegiance to ISIS working with that sphere."

Ward said on the day of the 9/11 attacks he attended the Sixteenth Annual International prayer Breakfast, marking the opening of the 56th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

"My thoughts then [were]: Was this for real or a scene out of Hollywood? Could terrorism hit home in the heart of America with such devastation? Could all of this planning and execution escape the sophistication of US intelligence apparatus?" he said. "These are questions which no doubt crowded the thinking of millions around the world. I also wondered if members of the human race could be so cruel to one another; as to take the lives of so many innocent people to further a political objective, or to avenge an act or perceived wrong."

Two decades later, following the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, the terrorism threat is never far from the ambassador's mind. The military and the Intelligence community, he said, will get a greater understanding of the terrorist-related implications of the withdrawal.

He expressed his concerns about the connections between the Taliban (banned in Russia) and the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as well as Pakistan's military.

"The ISI has been an ally of the Taliban from the origin of the Afghan's emergence out of Pakistan where they were given birth and trained in Saudi Arabian-funded madrassahs," Ward said.

To further complicate matters, he added, former President Donald Trump's negotiated agreement with the Taliban undermined the legitimacy of the Afghan government, "which began an irreversible process leading to the Taliban takeover."